USPS to Pay Korean War Memorial Sculptor $685,000


The artist who designed the figures of soldiers at the Korean War Veterans Memorial will collect over half a million dollars for unauthorized use of an image of his work. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has awarded sculptor Frank Gaylord $685,000 in retroactive royalties from the United States Postal Service.

In 2006, Gaylord sued the USPS-which designed a 37—cent stamp featuring a photo of the Washington, D.C., memorial covered in snow—for violating his intellectual property rights. When the USPS released the stamp, in 2002, it paid $1,500 to John Alli, a retired Marine whose photograph of the memorial they used, but did not compensate Gaylord. The initial ruling, in 2011, awarded the sculptor $5,000. Gaylord and his lawyers appealed. Instead they asked for 10 percent of the $17 million dollars the stamp generated for the USPS.

According to Bloomberg Law, the $685,000 is equivalent to 10 percent of the value of unused stamps and of merchandise featuring the memorial photo, plus interest. The court did not award Gaylord royalties deriving from the value of used stamps.

Gaylord began working on The Column, with representative figures from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, in 1990. Alli took his photo in January 1996, and licensed it to the USPS in 2002; the stamp was retired three years later.